Inflation to Hit Fourth of July Barbeques by 17%

The biggest hikes in prices this year will be in proteins, like ground beef and chicken

NBC Universal, Inc.

Before you start up your grill, check for coupons in your Sunday paper.

This year's Fourth of July cookout will be 17% more expensive than last year's, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The agency tracking these prices says the hikes have begun for farmers looking to grow the food.

“Despite higher food prices, the supply chain disruptions and inflation have made farm supplies more expensive; like consumers, farmers are price-takers not price-makers,” AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan said. 

Those high prices to farm and produce fruits and vegetables are trickling down to the store level, and ultimately hitting the wallet. Where most shoppers would one-stop-shop, they are now bargain hunting for the July Fourth BBQ essentials.

“Everything is just so expensive, so I am literally going to more than one store. I just got buns somewhere else because they had a good deal,” Joey Schram, a shopper in Naperville, said.

Schram is not alone, NBC 5 spoke to another shopper who is prepared to take a big hit this year with her whole family in town.

“I’m not happy about it, but we have our whole family coming, so we will be grilling,” the shopper said.

The AFBF provided this table of prices for common items at a cook-out. Here are some of the hikes:

Individual Prices, AFBF 2022 Summer Cookout

  • Two pounds of ground beef, $11.12 (+36%)
  • Two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $8.99 (+33%)
  • Thirty-two ounces of pork & beans, $2.53 (+33%)
  • Three pounds of center cut pork chops, $15.26 (+31%)
  • Two and a half quarts of fresh-squeezed lemonade, $4.43 (+22%)
  • Two and a half pounds of homemade potato salad, $3.27 (+19%)
  • Eight hamburger buns, $1.93 (+16%)
  • Half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, $5.16 (+10%)
  • Thirteen-ounce bag of chocolate chip cookies, $4.31 (+7%)
  • Two pints of strawberries, $4.44 (-16%)
  • One pound of sliced cheese, $3.53 (-13%)
  • Sixteen-ounce bag of potato chips, $4.71 (-4%)

Smaller grocery stores like Casey's in Naperville are doing what they can to adjust; however, they are feeling the pinch as well.

“Families are making adjustments. They know what they have to spend and maybe steaks aren’t in the works this year. We still want to celebrate the Fourth of July. We’ll go with the burgers, brats, hotdogs, kabobs, you know, whatever,” Kevin Killelea, Casey's store manager, said.

While stores like Casey's don't have the resources that the big box stores do, they promise to offer better customer service and fresher quality items.

“Our meat department, our customer service, as far as competing with the Trader Joe's the Mariano's, we are not trying to do that. What we are trying to do is satisfy the customers that are coming into our store,” Killelea said.

What's one way to save? Consider being less generous. If friends offer to bring food, Schram advises to take them up on that offer.

“When people ask what they could bring, normally I say 'nothing, bring yourselves.' And this year, I am taking people up. 'Somebody bring fruit, somebody bring salad, somebody bring vegetables and I’ll do the meat,'” Schram said.

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